Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gimme an Easter Sheep

So, what's with dyeing eggs for Easter anyway? I mean, I liked doing it as a kid. I admire the intricacy of a traditional Ukrainian Easter egg, the whimsy of a child's design, the springtime pastels of the wrapped chocolate eggs... but I don't usually go out of  my way to dye one myself.

Now yarn, THAT'S different.

My yarn amigos and I managed to finally figure out a date to get together to practice all the skills we learned last year at Olds Fibre Festival. It seemed like the yarn gods were against us: first it was getting a date when we could all make it, then waiting for the yarn we ordered to arrive. Finally, last Friday, we all sat around the kitchen table tying up the skeins and getting them ready to dye.

I won't lie... I was like a drunken wool-meister. "I love you guys," I uttered, more than once that day, with a big, goofy grin on my face.

Here's a shot of some of the skeins I dyed hanging to dry. The one on the extreme left got a bit tangled, partially due to my shoddy skein-tying, and partially because I loved it so much that I think I groped it into a big, stringy mess...

And here's a family shot:

I have very little colour-theory under my belt, and I have very little understanding about how to mix colours. I was really, really surprised at the results I got. I was nervous... worried that I'd just make a big, black mess.

I lifted the first two skeins out of the soaking water, and as I stood over the steaming crockpot, I had to talk my brain out of the fear.

"Come on," I said. "Just do it. Put it into the dye."

"You know three colours, Adriene," my brain said. "Red, white and mess."

"No, I can do this," I said. "Just breathe."

"I don't want to inhale the vinegar fumes," my brain said...

Eventually, I did it, and it was like magic. The colours absorbed into the fibres, and magically, I knew all the steps I needed to do to get the colours I wanted: a little more brown, a little more brown, maybe a few drops of black, oh, and there's coral over there? That's exactly what I'm looking for...

So, here's the order of the magic:

Possibly the most amazing part of the day was being able to over-dye some of the leftover yarn from The Puppy Shawl from my previous post. It's amazing what a little blue can do! The only thing is that I found one more skein hiding in the stash... oh well...

 So, who needs eggs, when you can dye the fibery wonder that is yarn? Easter Bunny? Pah... gimme an Easter Sheep any day!


  1. Wow you dye some beautiful yarn. What yarn did you use for your canvas? And what type of dye?
    Those of us that are living vicariously through your blog would like to know. What do you mean it is just me that wants to know? Will you still answer please?

    1. The first two were a sparkly merino, then the next few were Falkland, then the last two were Blue Faced Leicester. And of course, the over dyed stuff was alpaca. We used Ashford dyes.

    2. Did you see any difference in the way the dyes were taken up by different fibers? Well not really different fibers but different wools.
      Can you tell I love learning from the work of others?

    3. I couldn't tell much difference between the sheep wools, but they were all pretty similar in texture. The alpaca took a bit longer to take, but it WAS an overdye job. I still have more BFL and some merino-cashmere-nylon to dye, so we'll see what that's like!

  2. Beautiful! I'm guessing food coloring by the mention of vinegar fumes? Dyeing is so much fun...

    1. No, it was a set of Ashford dyes we got from our workshop last year. They need acid and vinegar was the best we could get.

    2. Well it clearly worked out! I'm usually dyeing with Kool-Aid, would love to try acid dyes sometime.